The benefit of drones in journalism is no secret. Drones save journalists money by providing a birds-eye view that was formerly only gained by helicopter. This perspective allows journalists to gain a greater understanding of the story and take great photos and videos. While drones are relatively easy to use for journalistic ventures, FAA imposed guidelines must be followed to avoid fines and legal recourse.
Drones used for journalism must be flown by an individual at least 16 years old and holding a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the supervision of an individual with a remote pilot certificate, and pass applicable TSA vetting. Remote pilot airman certificates can be obtained by passing the applicable exam.
Note: Pilots must pass the FAA Remote Pilot exam every 2 years to maintain their certificate.
When choosing a drone, keep in mind it must weigh less than 55lbs and undergo a pre-flight check by the FAA Remote Pilot Airman certificate holder.
STEPS TO GETTING YOUR REMOTE PILOT LICENSE
Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2: Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13
FAA REMOTE PILOT EXAM PREP